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Cal and the Cats recap win vs. Team Canada, plus postgame notes

Kentucky has clinched a spot in the GLOBL JAM Gold Medal Game.

Calipari. Rob Dillingham. Drew Brown - A Sea Of Blue

John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats looked to face what many thought would be the best team of the GLOBL JAM on Thursday night in Toronto.

Well, the Cats showed up in a big way, hammering the Canadians by a final score of 93-69.

The blowout win was not one that many expected, as the Cats looked mighty impressive for all four quarters, especially freshman standouts Reed Sheppard and Justin Edwards.

Sheppard finished with 14 points, four assists, four steals, and two blocks after going scoreless in the first game, while Edwards finished with 16 points after having just one bucket in the first game.

Rob Dillingham chipped in a game-high nine assists vs. one turnover to go with six points and two boards.

The Cats also received a huge game from super senior Antonio Reeves, who finished with 23 points after also leading the team in scoring the first game with 24.

A lot of the talk after the game was how unselfish the Cats have been, and a stat that supported that was 35 made shots on 27 assists.

The Cats will now play Team Africa Saturday at 1:30 pm ET and have already clinched a spot in the Gold Medal game this Sunday at 8 pm.

After Thursday’s game, myself and other media members spoke with head coach John Calipari, Reed Sheppard, and Antonio Reeves.

Check it out.

John Calipari

Reed Sheppard

Antonio Reeves

And here are the postgame notes and milestones from UK Athletics.

  • This was Kentucky’s second exhibition game of the GLOBL JAM FIBA event. UK will play two more games during the tour.
  • The Wildcats return to the court on Saturday vs. Team Africa. That game will tip at 1:30 p.m. and air live on CBS Sports Network.
  • With the win, Kentucky advances to the championship game of the event. The game, against a to-be-determined opponent, will tip at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS Sports Network.
  • Kentucky is 148-12 all-time in exhibition games and has won 27 straight. UK is 45-1 in exhibition contests under head coach John Calipari.

First-Quarter Facts

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Rob Dillingham, Reed Sheppard, Antonio Reeves, Adou Thiero and Tre Mitchell. Dillingham and Sheppard each earned their first start of the tournament.
  • Kentucky used four early points from Dillingham to jump out to an 8-4 lead, but the Canadians responded to knot the score at 8-8 at the 6:38 mark.
  • However, the Cats bounced back with a 13-4 spurt over the next 2:43, using a pair of Sheppard 3s and another from Reeves to take a 21-12 advantage with 3:57 remaining in the opening period.
  • D.J. Wagner, Justin Edwards and Jordan Burks were UK’s first subs of the game with 3:33 left in the quarter.
  • After connecting on eight of their first nine shots, the Cats missed their next six but a Wagner corner 3 with 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter ended the drought as Kentucky outscored Canada 24-16 over the first 10 minutes.

Second-Quarter Story

  • After the teams traded baskets throughout the early part of the second quarter, a pair of Edwards 3s sandwiched around a fast-break dunk by Thiero pushed the Wildcat advantage to 39-26, forcing a Canada timeout with 4:46 remaining in the half.
  • With the UK lead standing at 13 at 47-34 with less than a minute left to play, Sheppard blocked a Canada 3-pointer, tracked down the board and raced down the court for the slam to stake the Cats to a 49-34 lead at the break.
  • Sheppard led Kentucky with 12 points and three steals over the first 20 minutes while Reeves and Edwards each chipped in with nine for a balanced Wildcat attack.
  • Eight Cats scored in the half as UK shot 51% from the field and 46% from deep.
  • UK recorded 14 assists on 18 made field goals and forced 13 Canada turnovers.

Third-Quarter Tidbits

  • UK opened the second half with the same starting five.
  • Canada trimmed the UK lead to 55-43 with 5:33 left to play but a traditional 3-point play by Thiero after a beautiful feed from Wagner put an end to the Canadian run.
  • The Wildcats outscored Canada 16-6 the rest of the stanza, capped by a straightaway 3 from Wagner in the closing seconds, to push the advantage to a game-high 22 at 71-49.

Fourth-Quarter Findings

  • Edwards scored seven early fourth-quarter points, hitting a 3 with 6:25 left to play to extend the UK lead to 27 at 81-54.
  • Joey Hart saw his first action, playing the final 2:02 of the contest.
  • The Cats used baskets from Reeves and Burks to cruise the rest of the way, picking up the 24-point victory.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky held a 23-8 advantage in points off turnovers and a 15-6 lead in fast-break points.
  • The Cats forced 21 Canada turnovers.
  • Kentucky shot 48.6% (35-for-72) from the field and 36.7% (11-for-30) from deep.
  • UK connected on 12 of 14 (85.7%) from the charity stripe.
  • The Cats tallied 27 assists on 35 made field goals.

Player Notes

  • Antonio Reeves led all scorers with 23 points. He’s tallied game-high honors in both contests.
  • Justin Edwards went for 16 points and five boards.
  • Reed Sheppard poured in 14 points to go along with four assists and a game-high four steals.
  • Adou Thiero totaled 11 points, six boards and six assists while the Cats were a game-high plus-22 with him on the floor.
  • Tre Mitchell tied Thiero with a team-high six rebounds to go along with eight points, three assists, two steals and a game-high five blocks.
  • Rob Dillingham poured in six points while dishing out a game-high eight assists.